by Michael Thage Wohlert, English translation by Susanne Westphael Skov
It's not every day that you, as a business journalist, meet one of the experienced players in the patent and trademark industry who puts integrity above profits. But it was nevertheless what happened when I met Jette de Fries, Partner and Head of Trademarks and Designs at HØIBERG A/S, a patent and trademark agency in Copenhagen.
The occasion was Jette de Fries' 50th birthday on 24 October 2013. We started the interview with the usual line of questions about careers, hobbies and exciting interests. But it soon turned out that traditional journalism did not work on Jette de Fries.
"You know, there's not much to say about me," says Jette de Fries. "I lead a normal life with my husband and our daughter, in a house in Borup, south of Roskilde, and we spend our holidays, like lots of other people, going south. However, for our part, we prefer to go to France, as I have a linguistic education from CBS with French and English as main subjects. I neither go parachute jumping nor rifle hunting," says Jette de Fries.
As we all know the attraction is in the detail, and with almost 24 years of experience in the management of trademark rights, it soon became clear that I was dealing with a very sharp-minded trademark attorney with few but precise criteria for success. After graduating from CBS in 1990, Jette de Fries started working with trademarks, and in 1998 she was personally headhunted for HØIBERG by founder and partner Susanne Høiberg.
Jette de Fries specializes in brands and trademarks, which she protects in all markets all over the world. Over the years Jette de Fries has built an extensive network of trademark experts throughout the world, who whenever necessary are more than happy to assist her Danish clients. She also benefits from her international commitment by always being updated on international law and she finds it very important to cultivate her international network as such a network is essential for winning intellectual property rights cases internationally.
But this works both ways. The export of HØIBERG’s services has also increased through the network that Jette de Fries has built up.
“When you start a difficult case abroad and you win and at the same time manages to turn the practice of the law around it echoes within the industry at home and abroad” says Jette de Fries and refers to a case, where she protected the products of a Danish company from being copied in Turkey. And now we are back at the basis for the success of Jette de Fries. As far as Jette de Fries is concerned 24 years of working with retail and product challenges for a long list of clients is the best basis for a solid business understanding which can promptly be converted into action.
“There are a couple of sure ways to success in this industry”, says Jette de Fries. “You have to draw up a protection as broad as possible, and you can only do that if you have the experience and the right knowledge of the client and of the market. You must be able to ask the right people to solve the issue abroad whether it being in the Ukraine or Brazil, and you need to know about the local law and local challenges”, says Jette de Fries thereby providing the recipe for success in the trademark industry. But it is with confidence and a smile that Jette de Fries gives good advice. If anybody she knows the value of HØIBERG’s own brand.
“There are few companies who do not continue to place their business with us once they have met the culture and values of HØIBERG, where integrity, honesty and care in relation to business understanding are the key words on which our company is built”, says Jette de Fries.
Jette de Fries also plays an important part within HØIBERG’s own organization as team leader for the trademark department as well as being responsible for their database system. Nationally and internationally Jette de Fries is an authorized representative before OHIM (Office of Harmonization in the Internal Market) and she is a member of ADIPA (Association of Danish Intellectual Property Attorneys), FICPI (Fédération Internationale des Conseils en Propriété Industrielle), ECTA (European Communities Trademark Association), INTA (International Trademark Association), FIR (Foreningen Industriel Retsbeskyttelse) and AIPPI (Association International pour la Protection de la Propriété Industrielle). Furthermore, Jette de Fries is a member of the Internet Committee within ECTA, as well as being appointed as an expert for court cases in Denmark.